Once of the many swamp creatures Donald Trump invited into the White House was billionaire investor Carl Ichan—who became Trump’s “special adviser on regulatory matters” at the beginning of Trump’s term in office. For Ichan that meant telling Donald Trump to fix any and all regulations that affected Carl Ichan’s interests. On Thursday white supremacist in chief Donald Trump annoucned that he would be announcing tariffs on steel and aluminum sometime soon. Most everyone has been predictably annoyed and bothered and resigned to how dumb this announcement is. But, according to Think Progress, in one of the great coincidences in the history of coincidences, Carl Ichan seems to have made out pretty well in this announcement.
In alittle-noticed SEC filing submitted on February 22, 2018, Icahn disclosed that he systematically sold off nearly 1 million shares of Manitowoc Company Inc. Manitowoc is a “is a leading global manufacturer of cranes and lifting solutions” and, therefore, heavily dependent on steel to make its products.
The filing came just seven days before a White House event where Trump announced his intention ofimposing a 25 percent tariff on steel imports.
Think Progress notes that the reason we know about this is that SEC requirements are that when you make a sale of this level, you have to write it down. To be clear, Ichan was working this move over the past few weeks, when one might imagine, talk about what was going to happen with trade in the United States heated up in the White House—or whoever was tasked with doing the job of creating the proposal was gearing up to have the Donald spew it to the public in between tweets.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross publicly releaseda report onFebruary 16 calling for a 24 percent tariff. But, as the chart in the SEC filing indicates, Icahn started selling his Manitowoc stock on February 12, prior to the public release of that report. Moreover, the sharp drop in steel-related stocks did not occur until Trump announced he would accept the Commerce Department’s recommendations.
Ichan is no longer the “special adviser” to the president. But, Carl Ichan is still Trump’s special friend. Once you become rich it is very difficult for you to lose that wealth. This is one of the reasons why Donald Trump’s numerous bankruptcies are so bothersome. You have to be a complete catastrophe to blow all of that money when the entire system is rigged to not allow you to blow all of that money.
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